38 Kadamay members fined P200 each for trying to reoccupy QC property
MANILA, Philippines — Thirty-eight members of urban poor group Kadamay who tried to reoccupy a private property in Quezon City were ordered to pay fines of P200 each after being found guilty of other forms of trespassing.
In its ruling dated Monday, Feb. 22, Branch 43 of the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court did not pronounce a jail sentence for the accused, taking into consideration that their action might have been spurred by self-preservation.
The Kadamay members were involved in an attempted takeover in April 2017 of a private lot on Apollo Street in Barangay Tandang Sora, Quezon City, — the same property where they were evicted from in June 2016.
The court did not agree with the claim of the accused that their decision to occupy the property was to avoid “an evil,” which was an impending clearing operation to be conducted by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
“The defense of the accused does not even satisfy the first element that there is an evil sought to be avoided as the alleged clearing operation of the MMDA enjoys the presumption of regularity and therefore lawful and legal. It is not an evil that must be avoided,” the court ruling said.
“But the court understands that accused were driven by self-preservation under the circumstances and will thus impose the penalty of fine instead of imprisonment,” it added.
The court explained that the P200 was the fine prescribed by the Revised Penal Code for other forms of trespassing at P200 — noting that Republic Act No. 10951 which adjusted the fines were not yet implemented when the crime was committed.
“The system of criminal law followed in the Philippines, true to the ways of constitutionalism, has always leaned toward the milder form of responsibility, whether as to the nature of the offense or the penalty to be incurred by the wrongdoer,” it added.
Kadamay is a group known for occupying empty housing projects and other unoccupied properties as a form of protest against what it considers as an inadequate government housing program.
During the International Women’s Day last March 8, 2017, the group occupied a housing project in Pandi, Bulacan, which was originally intended for police and military officers.
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